COVID-19 accelerates workforce automation, new jobs still coming: WEF

The World Economic Forum (WEF), summing up its Future of Jobs 2020 report, today said that the Covid-19 pandemic has further accelerated the labour market's transformation, which is going to take away 85 million jobs due to workforce automation but creates 97 million more, "COVID-19 has accelerated the arrival of the future of work. Accelerating automation and the fallout from the COVID-19 recession has deepened existing inequalities across labour markets and reversed gains in employment made since the global financial crisis in 2007-2008. It is a double disruption scenario that presents another hurdle for workers in this difficult time," Saadia Zahidi, the WEF managing director, said, as quoted in a press release. She warned that the window of opportunity for proactive management of this change is closing fast, so businesses, governments and workers should urgently work together to "implement a new vision for the global workforce.

As per the World Economic Forum, automation and a division of labour between humans and machines will remove 85 million jobs globally by 2025. The technology revolution at the same time will generate 97 million new jobs in areas like artificial intelligence, content creation, cloud computing and green economy. Humans will retain their comparative advantage in managing, advising, decision-making, reasoning, communicating and interacting, the report adds.

Almost half of those people who are set to retain their jobs in the next five years will need re-skilling, and this process will require a coordinated effort of government and businesses, especially in light of the pandemic, which has disproportionately affected low-skilled workers, the findings show. The report also suggests that the telework has come here to stay, but will require adaptation.

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